Vogue Cover Controversy with “King James” and Gisele Bundchen

Vogue’s controversial cover

As you all may already know there is “sufficient” controversy going on about the new Vogue cover taken by my beloved Annie Leibovitz. I thought that it was a big deal just because Lebron James, of all people, is the first Black man on the cover of Vogue! I’m not saying that he isn’t great, but there are A LOT of GREAT Black men out there. Is he really the greatest black man they could have picked, but I figured for the theme they were going for he’s great! The cover is of Lebron James in an aggressive pose while Gisele Bundchen is by his side in her modelesque attire. The picture portrays their different lives of sports versus modeling, which the magazine highlights within containing more photographs of them together and other “like” parings (Ex/Caroline Trentini and Michael Phelps). But, NO, that is not the only controversy. Some have claimed that the dynamic duo resembles that of the iconic King Kong set-up of the chest-beating gorilla ravishing the helpless “white” female victim.

The “Resemblance”


First of all, Gisele is NOT the “typical White” woman. She is Brazilian! And she has graced the cover of numerous magazines, so I do believe she knows what she is doing and is viewed as such. She embodies talent, professionalism, and beauty, which I’m sure was the intention of her pose.

Professional Model Gisele

Lebron James is only 23 years old, was this unforeseen controversy the first thing on this immature, young man’s mind when he participated in a history-changing cover shoot? He is amazing at what he does and he makes the claim, as well as being quoted in several places, to have been pictured like this for the soul purpose of showing emotion. Many even know him as “King James,” which is the ONLY connection I see to King Kong.

King James

Professional Basketball Player Lebron James

Also, some have said that other pictures within the magazine would have been more suitable, but I do not believe that is the case when they refer to this image:

Another picture featured inside the magazine

They still would have seen controversy in the positioning and poses.

I don’t think even some of the other photos were less controversial either:





We could easily find some controversy with any of these pictures, but that is not how I feel they should be viewed.

Annie Leibovitz is known for this, so what were they expecting?

Annie Leibovitz

She is amazing

Annie Leibovitz also shoots for other magazines, and just because this is the first African American to grace Vogue’s cover does not mean she has not broken the barriers with her covers in the past with other people of color. Her “Africa” cover series is a perfect example of this! I do not believe malice was meant by this cover. Instead a “coming together” and barrier pushing cover was persecuted for its flaws instead of being celebrated for its accomplishments.




Here are some of Leibovitz‘s other unquestionable controversial, boundary pushing, masterpieces:









Fox news stated that “Vogue spokesman Patrick O’Connell said the magazine ‘sought to celebrate two superstars at the top of their game’ for the magazine’s annual issue devoted to size and shape.” I believe Vogue’s publicist has done a terrific job in defending their cover, and has made a wise choice in not pulling it. For God’s sake, Annie Leibovitz shot it! I would never question the taste or intention of that woman when so many people have trusted their reputation and image in her hands. These pictures are amazing, and I see Lebron James as a powerful basketball player evoking emotion and Gisele Bundchen as a fluid, experienced, and talented model revealing her expertise and knowledge on Vogue’s cover. I do not see a deadly gorilla taking advantage of a helpless White woman. But, the envelope was pushed yet again as people cry out and pull the race card. There have been times that I agree and people should own up to their mistakes, but this is not one of them. Finally, a magazine has stood up for their artistic and appropriate choice! The images are beautiful and should be embraced. And, the publicity will simply help their sales and viewership. If you don’t agree, then don’t buy the magazine…


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About torreyb

Torrey Burchak: I have a passion for education and am constantly searching for ways to expand my skills. My recent interests have led me to the wonderful realm of psychology, which I am planning to take this interest one step further by heading back to school, yet again. UT Undergrad Graduation 2008 Professional Background: My references from studies at U.T. along with strong working relationships can attest to my value as an honest hard-working individual. In my past role as MarketingDirector I have increased the company’s traffic, exposure and occupancy more than 30% in six months compared to prior years. When leasing I had the highest renewal rates by 10%. Through networking (social networking & partnerships) I have increased the marketing reach with a reduced budget from the previous years. Focus group surveys have established a higher caliber of event activities, which has resulted in greater resident retention and satisfaction. My client relation roles have allowed me to work with fortune 500 companies raising their annual revenues by more than $3 million with a single campaign implementation. Sometimes it's a thankless job, but I love the relationships I've made and the remarkable statistics and awards I've gained in my wake. Location of Yalamlam is ES.ofJeddah (Photo credit: Wikipedia) With my history of international travel I am focused on finding my niche in the marketing and healthcare industry. Being a UT Alumni, I am particularly interested in a competitive industry and diverse position such as my latest role as a creative and client relations manager. UT Austin offered a diverse community that stimulated my affinity to a multi cultural background. My experiences living overseas bring an understanding of interacting across cultural boundaries and the challenges that they present. These experiences are analogous to the need for building consensus and alliances within the well-known diversity of the marketing industry. Think (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Currently: My new direction in life and recent roles has allowed me to expand my horizons creatively and diversely. I will be furthering my studies, but I will simultaneously be working - like I said, I love furthering my skills. Montblanc (Photo credit: Freimut) My Blog: As a writer I have as many different styles as my colorful personality. I may decide to change it up every once in a while from a personal or colloquial standpoint to a noted more serious tone depending on how I feel. Enjoy and let me know what works best for you… Contact Info: tburchak@yahoo.com Partial Online Portfolio (contact me for more)

2 responses to “Vogue Cover Controversy with “King James” and Gisele Bundchen”

  1. Willie Walker says :

    I really don’t see a reason for the uproar of Lebron’s cover shot. This is not a “gorilla pose”, but his facial expression pertaining to his trade. Most of the time, there’s a glare after a dominating play. So, I think the source of this contoversy is “small minds” and desire to hang on to racial sterotypes. Unfortunately, some of my ebony queens & sisters, still have issues with brothers in any context with women who aren’t “black”, judging by the feedback shown, thus far.

  2. cg100 says :

    People are so politically correct anymore it’s ridiculous. Gee, why not censor everything, someone’s going to get offended by it anyway. Like one of the other more ‘suitable’ images, I guarantee you they would have found something wrong with those too. Like the one where she’s in the white dress, they probably wouldn’t have liked that because she’s standing above him or some PC crap. Giselle looks FAR from a ‘damsel in distress’ in this, & LeBron looks far from a ‘serial killer’ or an animal. He’s a professional sports player, part of sports is being aggressive. And the one woman on the show, SHE’S the one who said he looked like a gorilla, which he most certainly does not. She wouldn’t have liked anything they picked. The photo looks like they captured a great moment in the shoot, rater than one of the more posed photos, they got a moment where they both have great energy, with Giselle smiling. I don’t recall the girl in King Kong looking happy & smiling when King Kong had her.

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